Nice passage about the limitations of the trespass analogy : LUSENET : 6805-team-6 : One Thread

While flipping through M. Ethan Katsh's book "Law in a Digital World" (it was cited in Trotter Hardy's article), I found this passage about using analogies to describe cyberspace. Although not very sound bite-y, I think the idea behind it would be a nice addition to our white paper, regardless of what we conclude.

Also, I will be out of town from Friday evening until Sunday evening. If you need to contact me, call my home machine (354-0061) and leave a message. I will check in regularly.

The quote is this:

Particualrly during the early phase of the development of some new technology, differences in how some task is conducted are not necessarily easy to recognize and, as a result, the qualitative differences between the old and the new technologies tend to be neglected. It is almost to be expected that how the new media differ from the old will be glossed over. Thus, early films were labeled "moving pictures" and were not immediately understood to be a new art form. Or, as James Martin observed, "the first cars were called 'horseless carriages' and looked as though they were designed to be pulled by a horse. It took many years to realize that a good shape for a car is quite different. Radio was originally called 'wireless telegraphy'; it took years to realize that the great application of radio was broadcasting. . . ."

More recently, we have labeled the devices that transform electrical impulses into words on paper as "printers," and electronic databases as "libraries." These characterizations, representing obvious frames of reference from the print era, are understandable attempts to place new modes of processing and interacting with information in a familiar framework and to make users feel comfortable with the new technologies. Although these characterizations or metaphors may seem to make sense today, they are patently inadequate. The library metaphor, for example, . . . fails to explain the novel and powerful ways in which the new technology differs from the old and gives no hint of the new directions in which the new technologies are leading us. Some day in the future, in other words, the "library" label may seem as imprecise and nearsighted as "moving pictures" does today.

- Michelle.

-- Anonymous, October 23, 1998

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